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Video:How to Treat Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

with Dr. Howard Goldberg

Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by the Herpes virus, but treatment is available for cold sore and fever blister outbreaks. Watch this health video from About.com to learn more.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Treat Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Hi I'm Doctor Howard Goldberg from the Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Laser Center in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Today for About.com I will be having a discussion regarding treating fever blisters and cold sores.

Herpes Virus Causes Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

These conditions are caused by the virus Herpes simplex. Herpes simplex virus comes in two major varieties, type one and type two. Type one tends to affect the mouth area, type two the genital area.

It is estimated that eighteen to thirty five percent of children are infected with type one Herpes simplex by age five and about ninety percent of adults have been found to carry antibodies against the type one Herpes simplex virus.

The type two Herpes simplex virus usually affects the genital area and it's estimated that about forty five million Americans are currently infected with this virus. The clinical picture, however, is very similar for either type one or type two.

Recognizing Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Namely one sees a collection of small blisters or vesicles on a red swollen base which are quite tender. Over two or three days these blisters dry and crust. Sometimes there is some bleeding into the blisters and they have a purplish color from dried blood.

Attacks of the Herpes simplex infection can occur rarely, just maybe once a year or once every two years. Or in some patients the attacks can occur quite frequently, as often as once a month. The first time that a person becomes infected with the Herpes simplex virus they have no immunity against it and the attack is much more severe and frequently is associated with a great deal of pain, fever, and considerable redness, swelling and blistering. Subsequent recurrent attacks are much milder and usually last a few days to a week, are only mildly tender and heal much more rapidly because the person has partial immunity against the virus.

Treatment for Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

The most effective treatment involves the use of systemic medication. The drugs that are most commonly used to treat Herpes simplex are Acyclovir, Valcyclovir or Famvir. And these affect an enzyme system that is present only in the virus, but not in humans and therefore side effects with them tend to be minimal. The drugs can be used on an acute basis to treat a single attack and one just takes them for several days. Or the drugs can be used chronically for profilax is in which a low dose is taken once daily for six months or a year at a time.

Consult a medical provider or dermatologist.  But obviously it's something that one would have to consult their local dermatologist to get further information on. Thanks for watching. To learn more visit About.com.

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